Warning about ‘scam’ taxi trend taking over Melbourne
City dwellers looking to grab a late-night taxi are warned of a scam trend that could see their fares double or even triple.
Journalist Tony Jones learned of the frustrating trend when he attempted to leave a KISS gig at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena around 11pm on Tuesday night.
The top reporter said that as they approached the line of taxis, each of the drivers refused to turn on the meter and instead demanded an “exorbitant” flat rate of $80.
Mr Jones said it should cost just $25 to get to his destination in Kew, a suburb of Melbourne’s city centre, just a 15-minute drive from the stadium.
Journalist Tony Jones (pictured) learned of the frustrating trend as he attempted to leave a KISS concert at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena around 11pm on Tuesday night
“The taxi stand was full of taxis which was a good sign, but when we approached the taxis all the meters were off,” he said.
“Rod Laver Arena flat fee was $60 to $80 to get to Kew.
“For my life, I can’t understand how they get away with it.”
Mr Jones told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell he ended up ditching the taxi rank and catching an Uber to his destination which cost $25.
He said ‘sufficient’ drivers should not be able to dictate the cost of a trip and said the issue needed to be resolved before the next AFL finals.
Mr Jones said as he approached the taxi line, each of the drivers refused to put the meter on and instead charged an ‘exorbitant’ fixed fee of $80 (pictured, taxis in Melbourne)
“They are for all intents and purposes not legitimate drivers, so why are they obstructing this makeshift taxi service lane for people who want to get a legitimate fare,” he told listeners.
“Why do theater or concertgoers get ripped off? They need to crack down on this.
Transport Matters MP Rod Barton later revealed the frustrating practice was legal, with taxi drivers allowed to quote a price from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
‘I do not like it. I raised this issue directly with the Minister himself and have been raising it for months as well,’ he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.
“The regulator has lost control.”
Mr Jones (pictured) told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell he ended up abandoning the taxi stand and catching an Uber to his destination, which cost him $25
Mr Barton said the problem stemmed from the popularity of Ubers and other ride-sharing companies which forced taxis to compete.
“We all wanted to go that Uber route and let the market determine the price, well, unfortunately, it’s coming home now,” he said.
The MP added that Daniel Andrew’s Labor government had only raised taxi fares once in 14 years, in what he described as a “ridiculous scenario”.
“We were able to negotiate and get a rate increase recently, but it’s not yet effective,” he said.